Moffat County quilters make hundreds of quilts to comfort breast cancer patients
A project that started with a breast cancer diagnosis grows to wrap community members up in a fabric hug
Craig — When her daughter-in-law was diagnosed with breast cancer about 15 years ago, Moffat County quilter Linda Pinnt made her first comfort quilt and that October started the Circle of Friends program where area quilters use donated materials to make hundreds of quilts for people throughout the Yampa Valley with cancer.
Over the years, Pinnt estimates she has made about 345 comfort quilts herself, but it’s hard to count the total number of quilts made and donated by the entire group, with the number likely to range into the thousands.
Marie Kettle is a registered nurse who has been in charge of the infusion clinic providing chemotherapy at The Memorial Hospital at Craig for the past five years and area quilters regularly delivers quilts to her for distribution to new patients.
“I keep a few quilts here, and when I get a new cancer case I give them a choice of a quilt,” she said. “It’s joy. When I show them what they are and who puts them together.”
Quilts also go to Steamboat and throughout the area, said Bonnie Wilson, of Craig, who has been lending her quilting skills to the cause since about 2010.
“It’s a feel good thing. I’ve had friends that have breast cancer, people that I know and when I was up at the cancer center and I looked around the room I knew so many people,” she said. “They do good for our community and someone needs to do good for them. I have known too many people that have needed the comfort.”
Wilson estimates that each quilt costs about $40 to make. The length of time needed to make each quilt varies depending upon the complexity of the pattern and can take a day or two for the top to be complete with additional time needed to quilt and finish the lap sized, 45 inch by 54 inch, quilt.
“I’ve never had a person turn them down even the men are happy to get one. They make them in a variety of colors so that is satisfying to the individual taste,” Kettle said.
The cost in time and money is small compared to the comfort a quilt brings.
“When you go through chemo you feel cold even in a warm room,” Wilson said. “The quilt gives you the warmth and the warmth of knowing that someone cares. Often people having treatments bring the quilt in every time.”
Kettle sees this first hand as she administers treatment.
“The quilt is a snuggle blanket. It gives them warmth and security. It’s very comforting and well received and it puts a smile on their face. It’s awesome,” she said.
Area quilters have also supported the cause by creating a queen sized quilt for the Yampa Valley Ladies’ Golf Association for their Rally for the Cause golf tournament and drawing. All funds raised through this effort are donated to the Moffat County Cancer Society, a United Way funded program.
“Funding is available to anyone in Moffat County going through a cancer diagnosis needing funding for travel, lodging, living expenses, anything we can do to be supportive in helping them go through this time,” said Kathy Darveau, secretary for of Moffat County Cancer Socitey for 25 years.
The lady golfers, in the last 13 years, have given over $20,000, from all sources, to benefit the cause locally, “the quilt has been an undeniably great additional fundraiser to the tournament and so it is a very big deal for us in our goal to raise money for the cause,” said Susan Utzinger, president of the ladies golf association and co-chair of the Rally for the Cause golf tournament that was held this year on Aug. 10.
Supporting neighbors with cancer is one of the many causes area quilters work to support as quilting groups and individuals in our area are also busy making quilts for such causes as veterans appreciation, childhood illness and senior appreciation.
More hands are always welcome, Pinnt said.
The community is invited to support the effort by donating money, fabric and supplies and/or their sewing skills.
“Fabric needs to be 100 percent cotton that is clean, no animal hair, no smoking and no washing as patients sometimes have allergies or reactions to soaps and allergens,” Wilson said.
Those who do not currently know how to sew are invited to help the cause by learning to quilt.
Colorado Northwestern Community Collage offers a beginning quilting class where students learn how to piece a quilt top often using donated fabrics with the finished tops quilted then gifted by the Circle of Friends Comfort Quilt program.
“Anytime someone calls, if we don’t have a quilt we will make one,” Wilson said.
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